I would like to comment on the issues in Samuel Young’s letter in the Feb. 13 paper, “Council caved to tourism interest in passing ‘political’ budget.”
He complains about the politicians “caving in” to the tourist industry.
Council was so “beaten into submission” that they raised my licence fee 300 per cent. I also have to pay the same property tax increase as Mr. Young.
It has also been pointed out that about 10 years ago MPAC imposed an increased tax on a property being used as a B&B property versus just a home.
I would also like to point out to Mr. Young that because of tourism, his house is probably worth more than if the Shaw Festival and the wineries and the supporting industries, which includes restaurants and B&Bs, were not here.
I do agree with his comments regarding unlicensed rental properties. I don’t mind competing with anybody but it needs to be an even playing field. If I pay for a licence, so should they.
I get inspected annually by a bylaw officer, fire inspector and health inspector. So should they.
My understanding is that the increased licence fees are to be used to track down and punish the offending properties. The hope is that through fines and additional licences that the rates I now pay may be able to be reduced in future.
So, Mr. Young, I and the other legal B&B owners are paying to correct the situations you describe regarding the illegal places, not you.
While, like most people, I don’t like to see taxes increased I do believe there is some need.
Besides the normal things that have to be maintained and improved such as roads and sewers, I don’t have a problem with the town fighting some of the upstanding citizens of this town such as Benny Marotta and Rainer Hummel.
Like it or not the Old Town area is the main driver bringing people to town. Besides the tourist activities that Mr. Young opposes, they also come to enjoy the quaintness of the town. The construction Mr. Marotta has done and proposes takes away from that quaintness.
If this good citizen would work with the town and keep his buildings to enhance the town’s look rather than diminish it by putting in Toronto designs that increase his wealth and taking the town to court anytime he doesn’t get his way, it would make his and our lives easier.
I do like the latest drawings of the hotel he wants to build on the Randwood Estate, I still think it is three or four storeys too high.
Owning a winery I would have thought he would want to maintain the things that bring people to town and, hence, to his winery.
Somebody also commented that Mr. Hummel should focus first on sorting out his Queen and Mississagua property before taking the town to court over any other issue.